Why Your Easter Will Be More Expensive This Year

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As you prepare for your Easter feast Sunday, get ready for some sticker shock on some of the more common items you'll need.

Eggs

The price of eggs is at a historical high. When dying those eggs crazy colors for your egg hunt, you may want to handle them with a little more care than usual.

The American Farm Bureau Federation's latest Semi-Annual Marketbasket Survey finds the average price of eggs is $1.98 a dozen, up 8% from a year ago. One reason -- global demand for eggs has been on the rise, especially to Mexico. The Bureau says exports have been strong since the supply of eggs was reduced by an avian influenza outbreak.

Ham

Your Easter ham is more expensive this year as pork prices have been soaring. That's because a raging virus that kills piglets has spread to more than two dozen states. It remains unclear how the virus entered the country, and farmers have struggled to find ways to contain it. Plus, the most recent data from the Department of Agriculture show hog and pig inventory is down 3% in March compared to 2013.

The Easter Feast

Whether you're eating at your local Denny's (DENN) or your Aunt Jenny's, you're not the only one looking forward to that traditional Sunday brunch. Those who do plan to celebrate will spend the bulk of their budget on groceries for a family meal or dining out.

According to the National Retail Federation's Easter Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights, about 86% of participants say they will spend an average of $43.18 on a holiday meal. That breaks down to a grand total of $5 billion this year. Meanwhile, the National Restaurant Association estimates 33 million Americans dining out for Easter Sunday.

Candy

From marshmallow Peeps to Cadbury Eggs, nearly 83% of parents plan to include candy and chocolate in their child's Easter basket this year, according to a nationwide survey by the National Confectioners Association. It says total U.S. confectionery sales this season are projected to exceed $2.2 billion -- up 4% from 2013 due to three extra weeks of merchandising for the retail industry.

Courtesy of Peeps & Co.

Decorations and Spring Clothes

The Easter Bunny will see decked out halls, just like Santa. The NRF says shoppers will spend more than $2.1 billion on decorations and flowers in 2014. Matthew Shay, the trade group's president and CEO, said in a statement, "Retailers are anticipating that warmer weather will easily put consumers in the mood to buy bright clothes, holiday decorations and more."

About 43% of those surveyed will purchase new spring outfits such as bright Easter dress clothes for their children, spending an average of $22.71. Total spending on apparel is expected to reach $2.6 billion.

That's good news for discount retailers such as Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT).  A whopping 61.5% of respondents say they will shop at a discount store compared to 38.1% who will choose a department store such as Macy's (M) or J.C. Penney (JCP).

So after a long, frigid winter, Americans are ready for Easter as they embrace spring, sunshine and all the chocolate eggs that come with it.

The NRF says overall total spending for the holiday is expected to reach $15.9 billion.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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